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Are you communicating with your customer regularly?  With all the options customers have these days it is imperative that you do this; thank you notes, follow up on alterations, birthdays, new merchandise arrivals, etc.  Besides the phone and direct mail remember to include e-mail as an option. 

Many small retailers are taking advantage of the Internet as a communications tool. It takes some work, but not a lot. In the old days, you and your staff asked people if they wanted to become a part of your mailing list. Maybe you had them fill out a card. You can do the same thing today by asking for an e-mail address. You can have people sign up at your web site, if you have one.

We have heard positive things from retailers who are sending out a regular e-mail newsletter telling about new arrivals, new fashion directions, etc.  Also, if you have a digital camera you can send pictures over the internet of new items that you think may interest your customer by attaching the picture to an e-mail.

The Internet provides you with the benefits of customer marketing at a fraction of the cost. If you apply the same principles of direct mail marketing to e-mail, you have gotten away from printing costs, folding, stuffing, stamping, etc.  If you are having a pre-season sale, special promotion or clearance sale, you can send an e-mail to 1000's of people in seconds. It could contain a coupon or a link that they can click that would take them to your web site or to a particular place on your web site.

If retailers will recall the ways that customer marketing helped them over the last 20 years and apply those exact same principles to e-mail and the Internet, they will likely obtain some of the same positive results that they had before (at a fraction of the cost). For retailers who are sending out 3 or more mailings per year, the Internet and e-mail might be a bargain.

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